These two volumes conclude the monumental study of Spanish painting which was the lifelong work of Chandler Rathfon Post, who died in 1959. At the time of his death Volume XIII was in typescript and Volume XIV in manuscript. Harold E. Wethey, Post’s literary heir, prepared the books for publication.
Volume XIII covers the period of transition from medieval to renaissance painting in Aragón and Navarre and concentrates especially on the works of Pedro de Aponte and his school, Antonio de Aniano and the Sijena Master in Aragón and Pedro Díaz de Oviedo in Navarre, all active in the first half of the sixteenth century. The volume concludes with an appendix of additional information and attributions pertaining to forty-three artists treated in earlier volumes.
Volume XIV contains chapters on Alonso Berruguete’s paintings, ten painters of the School of Valladolid in the mid-sixteenth century, three painters of the School of Burgos, Gaspar Becerra, and four painters of the School of Toledo. Forty pages of additions to earlier volumes are appended. This volume also contains a brief biography of Post and a bibliography of his writings.
These two volumes can hardly be separated from the rest of the series, which constitutes an indispensable catalogue of Spanish paintings from the early Middle Ages through the Renaissance. For the general historian its major interest is the detailed sequence of styles and influences, some imported from abroad, and the evidence which the art provides concerning the political and social history of the Spanish provinces. For example, these two volumes document the decline of Flemish hegemony in artistic matters and its replacement by Italian influences, especially from Michelangelo and his followers. The sixteenth century was also the period when the Spanish founded settlements in the New World. The cultural background of those settlements and the art and artists which they imported were products of the Spain described in these two volumes.
Post was one of the last scholars to practice a technique of art history which emphasized the reconstruction of individual masters by a study of the human types, drapery, landscapes, chiaroscuro, and compositions which they painted. His knowledge of iconography was profound. Thus his volumes provide a special kind of history—i.e., attempts to recreate the personalities, intellectual abilities, and training of particular individuals and to show the kinds of contacts which they established with teachers, patrons, or other individuals and the artistic results of all of these factors. With the copious illustrations provided such history is very concrete.
The volumes are well produced and illustrated in black and white. There are detailed notes and excellent bibliographies in both volumes.